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DP Presents Party Platform on Labor and Human Resources

PHILIPSBURG - On Thursday the Democratic Party of St. Maarten presented its Party Platform on Labor and Human Resources vision as part of the DP Party Platform. The vision highlights the party’s commitment to ensuring social dialogue and commitment in ensuring that the country’s labor force and human resources continues to grow; “The DP will continue its approach of social dialogue on matters related to labor, allowing workers and employers to contribute to the process.  There is a general consensus on more flexibility in the labor market; the need for adaptation of the dismissal law; control on compliance; and unemployment benefits. The DP will bite the proverbial bullet and champion a change from the “cessantia” system to a more modern system of unemployment insurance and pension benefits,” read the platform.

The party platform also highlights the party’s plans in addressing Immigration and Foreign Labor; “Since 2010 the Immigration and Border Management of our Country has made great leaps. Our borders can now be much better controlled and managed. Persons wishing to enter St. Martin other than for the purpose of a visit will have to follow the rules that govern residency on our island. With the new system in place, much more effective service can be provided, alleviating the temptation by some to try and beat the system.

“The DP advocates upward mobility for our own people in the labor force.  This mobility is enhanced through provision of training and re-training programs, which is most effectively done in cooperation with employers.  A versatile and easily adaptable workforce will be the result.  Availability of skilled labor is part of the criteria foreign investors use to judge the feasibility of investing in a particular region or country. It also reduces the need for importation of expatriate labor. However, for cases that do require expatriate labor, the foreign labor policy must be transparent and efficient.  The DP believes that the foreign labor permit policy should be a differentiated one,” emphasized the Democratic Party Platform on Labor and Human Resources. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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Orientation notice to all parents and guardians of SMVTS school students

PHILIPSBURG — The Management of Division Public Education in collaboration with the Management of St. Maarten Vocational Training School is hereby notifying you of the schedule for the “Back to School Orientation”, on Monday August 11, Tuesday August 12 and Wednesday, August 13, 2014.

Please take note not all classes will not be expected to report to school on Monday, August 11, 2014. The students of the various forms are expected to report to school, dressed properly in the SMVTS uniform as follows at the regular school time.

Date

Forms

Monday, August 11, 2014

Forms 1 and 2

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Forms 1 and 3

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Forms 1, 2 and 4

Thursday, August 14, 2014

All 4 forms regardless of stream or level.

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Rotary Mid Isle Impressed with Sunil Jiandani

PHILIPSBURG - Recently, Rotary Club of St Maarten Mid Isle invited Sunil Jiandani to be the guest speaker for their weekly meeting.

Sunil better known as Sunny is a young man with a big heart. His aim is to see his younger peers make something of themselves. Sunny is the Founder and President of the St. Maarten Flag Football Association.

He mentors these youngsters with the help of five other persons around his age. The association provides a safe space for his mentees to interact, play and study.

He also assists his mentees in finding summer and after school jobs at restaurants and grocery stores as well as academic support in tutoring and homework monitoring.

If you would like to support Sunny and his association please contact Rotary Club Mid Isle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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UPDATED: Art Saves Lives students participate in successful trip to New York City

PHILIPSBURG - Twelve students who participated in Art Saves Lives Summer Intensive recently traveled to New York City where they attended classes at Broadway Center, Steps on Broadway, Alvin Ailey Dance School, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Cumbe Dance Center.

 

Melvin Le Blanc, Mahealeney Kemper, Mariska Carty, Zoe van Zadelhoff, Ray-Angel Boasman, Dashaun Prince, Yoülia Charbonnier, Jeanille Gibs, Celina Monsanto, Otmar Martina, Lian Borsje Chun and Jeremiah David were accompanied by chaperone Ari Sutton, Art Saves Lives Foundation Secretary and Project Manager, and parents Hillanthe Simon, Josette Norbert and Marieke van Zadelhoff.

 

Nicole De Weever, founder and President of Art Saves Lives met the group in New York and accompanied the students to all their classes and was able to take them on a tour of the city of New York. The students were also able to attend the Broadway show Motown and met with the cast after the show where they had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the cast.

 

The twelve students were selected for their dedication and ability during ASL 2013. JetBlue provided the tickets for the students who traveled to New York from July 16 to July 23rd. Art Saves Lives Foundation has started its preparation for its Summer Intensive for 2015 which promises to be an amazing experience. 

 

About Art Saves Lives

Art Saves Lives Program (ASLP) is a cross-cultural exchange between youth in need and experienced practicing artists who seek to use their talents for positive change. This collaborative project will select renowned artists from around the world who use the arts to introduce participants to global and local traditions and empower them with the life skills necessary to effectively deal with the demands and challenges of everyday life. The program will also provide guidance for young artists with aspirations in pursuing a career in the arts. ASL 2014, an intensive week long workshop program was held June 23-28th on St. Maarten.

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The Inspectorate warns against unsafe health practices & unregistered health care providers

PHILIPSBURG - It has been observed lately, that an increase of ads are being placed by persons/companies in the local newspapers claiming to heal all kinds of (medical) conditions by applying certain diagnostics and (spiritual) treatments and/or using certain non-registered medication.

The Inspectorate of Health Care of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor is hereby informing the public that these persons/companies have to follow a registration procedure prior to them being authorized to perform health services on the island. The selling of non-registered medication and the provision of medical services without an establishment and operational permit are illegal.

Prior to accepting or paying for any kind of treatment one should request proof that the person or company is registered and authorized to provide what they claim.

Anyone who knows of persons or companies that commit an illegal act by providing unauthorized medical services should contact the Inspectorate. The contact information is listed below.

The inspectorate department has been restructured in 2009 and has been officially functioning since October 10, 2010. The objective of the department is to ensure quality of health care and safety to the community of St. Maarten.  The Inspectorate can be contacted at: Kanaalsteeg #1. (above Diamond Casino) Tel: 1721-5423580/ 5422079/5422059.

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Prime Minister Wescot-Williams hands Condolence for the Victims of Flight MH17 to Dutch Representative

PHILIPSBURG - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams presented the condolence books of the people of St. Maarten expressing their condolences to the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17 to Dutch Representative Gert Versluis on Friday.

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams emphasized that it is very important that the Dutch People and the Dutch Government knows how deeply affected the population is by the loss of life; “I would like to again express our deepest condolences and prayers to the Dutch people and to the Government of the Netherlands regarding the sad loss of life on board the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. Our thoughts have been with the friends and families of those that were affected by this horrible tragedy,” commented Wescot-Williams. (Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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SXM Airport Bids Bon Voyage to 80 Students Leaving for Holland

SIMPSON BAYThe Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM, in collaboration with Dominos Pizza, will be bidding “Bon Voyage” to about 80 students who will be leaving the island Sunday, August 3, 2014.

“The event, which is in its third year, will be attended by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Minister of Education Patricia Lourens, both of whom will address the students before they board their KLM flight bound for the Netherlands.

The students will receive SXM branded bags full of gift items, and Dominos will distribute pizza and refreshments to them. They will also receive an SXM water cannon salute as their plane takes off.

To lighten up what normally would be a tear-filled occasion; DJ Outkast will provide music, with Gee Money on hand to hype up the atmosphere.

SXM Airport is offering free parking for this event, which starts at 10 AM.

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UPDATED: Mix & Mingle for Christian Singles -Join the search on Aug. 1-

MARIGOT/PHILIPSBURG-“Tonight is the Night!” for St. Maarten’s first Mix & Mingle for Christian Singles event. This Youth Development Center (YDC) Foundation production is eagerly anticipated and has been receiving rave reviews over the past two weeks. Most ticket outlets have reported record numbers, the organizers say, and Mix & Mingle promises to be epic.

It all gets started tonight, August 1,  at Carl & Sons Conference Room in Colebay from 7:30 pm and goes up until 12:30 am.

Mix & Mingle for Christian Singles is a unique, Christ-centered vision that focuses on fostering fellowship, clean entertainment and the Biblical values of a marriage union.  It’s a unique form of “Kingdom entertainment” with an A-list lineup.

One of St. Maarten’s premier gospel artiste, Angie Pantophlet will be serenading the audience with songs such as It Feels So Good, while rising star Natalia Rich, just back from her Trinidadian tour, plans to inject youthful vigor with an eclectic performance. A soulful acoustic rendition will be done by saxophonist Cecil Sax Griffith even as newcomer Rosalie Paige dances and sings her way through a gospel Zouk original. 
Dr. Erna-Mae Francis-Cotton of Victorious Living Foundation will showcase her creative side through Poetic Vibes.  Dutch comedian Sergio Sno has some new material and he’s planning to leave the audience in stitches as he gives a hilarious standup comedy.

Join the fun, take the plunge; “Find God's Match for Your life!” is the theme for the event. To this end Mix & Mingle will feature the love doctor himself, Roy Cotton Jr. of the Love & Inspiration radio show with expert advice. Cotton Jr. will field questions from the audience and also offer relationship advice.

A mini fashion show, speed dating and fundraising auction will round out the night’s activities.

Prizes such as spa treatments, dinners, photo shoot and resort stays will be up for grabs through a ticket raffle contest and also fun games that will be coordinated by Mcs, radio host, Carl D. Springate and Pastor Anne Goodman and game master Vanessa Jolie Timothy.

The night ends with a gospel dance party as DJ Prince spins tracks from yesteryear to now. The dress code is semi-formal and all proceeds go towards the work of the Youth Development Center and the Sister Circle Empowerment Network.

Tickets cost $20 per person and cover the cost of entertainment and a sumptuous buffet dinner. They  can be purchased at Philipsburg locations;  Family Bookstore, Oneil's Photo Studio and Negril Restaurant, Marigot locations; Rebuilding the Walls Book Emporium, MSR Private Cable TV and Carl and Son's Colebay.  Mix & Mingle for Christian Singles is sponsored by Caribbean Cinemas, Cheri's Cafe, The Loterie Farm, Inter Coiffure, Oniel’s Photo Studio, Greenhouse Restaurant, Prime Distributors, Dominos Pizza, Rosemary's Seafood Creole Cuisine, B & C Beverages, Radio Maranatha 100.3 FM, Pineapple Pete, Thalgo Spa, Temptation Restaurant and Glamorous Boutique. (Contributed by Youth Development Foundation) 

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Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Presented with Copies of Practical Guide for Visitors to St. Maarten

PHILIPSBURG - On Tuesday July 29th the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams on Tuesday was presented with the recently published “Welkom op St. Maarten” guide for people from Dutch Speaking Countries interested in traveling to St. Maarten.

The Prime Minister signed three copies of the book and received her personal copy from the authors Marlène van Asten, Esther de Vries and Ina Kruize. The Book is available on St. Maarten, in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. (Contributed by the Cabinet of the Prime Minister)

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Tell Me Again, Lasana M. Sekou’s Love Songs Make You Cry - Second Edition

By Rochelle Ward 

PHILIPSBURG - Unadulterated love and dizzying passion are the puppet masters that wind their fingers around the heartstrings of the characters that people the five stories in Lasana Sekou’s newly published Love Songs Make You Cry – Second Edition. This love and passion drive the characters to what Blair’s father (one of the characters) describes as “grave and unmentionable consequences” – that cost them their trust, family or even their lives. But sometimes, like the floating sunbeams beneath the canopy of a dense forest, these same characters bask in the faint rays of redemption.

Who has not been touched by the baby’s breath of first love, the threat of another lover or the reeling pain of a broken heart? Love is as unexpected as a butterfly coming to rest on your shoulder. It is as fragile as an old, caring couple. It is the icepack of forgiveness on an inflamed wound. Sometimes, it lets go abruptly while other times, it is released with a hope that it returns, lasting and restored, unlike Blair’s, hollowed, ghost-like and filled with the shadows of a former infatuation, which she fed on for ten years. Most of all love, like independence, has many enemies.

In “The Snoring” Elsa, a teenager thrown out the house by her sole guardian, her grandmother, ends up forging a relationship with Dolores, a Dominicana who worked two jobs to support her family back home and avoided immigration raids. Both are baffled by the illness that is causing Elsa to rapidly lose weight and to have faithful nightmarish dreams.

It is clear that Fatty, in “Fatty and the Big House,” is not over Nancy, who was shipped off to Holland by her parents before Fatty and Nancy could be together for good.  Fatty, who nurses his wounds by hooking up with Annie, going to work in Aruba and then back in St. Martin building “a house so big it would block out the sun from shining” on Nancy’s parents’ house, is in for a bigger surprise.

Clement and Blair are the main characters of “New Year’s Eve Born.” This story may be a St. Martin version of Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy often retold but never like this.

Nkrumah, the love struck twelve-year-old in “The Rightful Heirs,” is entrusted with a heavy secret that terrifies him and has Winston, his late father’s friend, nervous.

And of course, the simple rollercoaster ride between the young man and woman in “Love Songs Make You Cry,” which develops, teasing and, slow, comes to a tearful halt a few months later.

It is hard to ignore the strong currents of nationhood, independence, and identity in this collection that is also centered on the love one has for his or her country and people despite political manipulation.

And, even though the characters leave the island, like Fatty or his woman, Annie, by force or escape, Sekou anchors the stories in St. Martin, often times appearing in the book as “S’maatin,” which is divided into a Dutch and a French territory. His characters reside in or roam freely throughout districts like Middle Region, Great Bay, Dutch Quarter, Sucker Garden, St. James, Colombier, and Grand Case as though one. The young man in the title story affirms:

"An’ befo’ these leaders here talk of real independence and unity dey wahn make this island a showcase of something French or Dutch or some other whitewashed form of dependency and false identity. … Do I look like a European? I was born here, so how could I be French or Dutch[…] I’m a S’maatiner, a Caribbean man, and that’s what counts?"

In addition, the other Caribbean women, “so-called illegal aliens” from the Dominican Republic, bookend Sekou’s work, one is determined to stay, the other willing to leave. It is unfortunate that the St. Martin woman does not have a strong presence; she is hardly in the spotlight and if the light shines on parts of her, she is a periphery, working, struggling, or observing those around her.

The collection begins with the St. Martin woman after whom she slowly fades and loses or shares her St. Martin man with another woman, an American tourist or undocumented women from a Spanish-speaking Caribbean country. If this inability to maintain a loving relationship with a St. Martin woman like the character Mr. Gassy has was intentionally juxtaposed with the men’s failure to provide complete independence for both their families and the “S’maatin” homeland, then the fading spotlight on the St. Martin woman works.

These home-grown stories were first published twenty-five years ago, but with Sekou’s modernist “cutting everything that might slow down the narrative” – as Michela Calderaro writes in her introduction to the book – they are relevant still today. The booming tourist industry touched the lives of the characters one way or another, and independence from it, along with colonialism, is often like a mirage seemingly within reach but snatched away.

The updated glossary in Love Songs Make You Cry is a very helpful reference as it translates the island’s true self-expressions, including Spanish, Papiamentu, and Dutch words, used in character dialogue to its standard language cousin and dutifully comments on aspects of St. Martin culture.

In the end, St. Martin is the story, waiting for its characters to return to it, to defend it, and to free it because they love it.  (Editor’s Note: Rochelle Ward (Faizah Tabasamu) is a poet, literature teacher, and blogger.)

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